Banner photo by Steven Gotts; slideshow by Rick Moreau
Review by Lois Jackman

I’m just a white girl from the heartland. What do I know about reggae, techno music or the struggles of Ethiopia? That’s what I asked myself, and how can I presume to understand The Lion of Judah Hath Prevailed? Yet somehow, I felt as if this music truly spoke to me. The Process, Ghetto Priest and the multitude of other collaborative artists show us that there are universal truths and common human conditions that cannot be masked by a particular story or a style of music.

In a truly astounding effort in which recording happened literally on different sides of the ocean, the common theme of the tune “prevailed” throughout. Subtle variations and arrangements, smart and sophisticated textures, and an overall style that comes from the heart made this recording very cool.

An experiment of sorts, seven different versions of the same tune might seem pretty tedious. But the interspersing and juxtaposition of various musical influences, cultures and ideas keep it interesting. The depth of emotion and empathy for the struggles of the emperor of Ethiopia Halie Selassie, and the belief of good over evil give this project credence and substance. It is social comment at its best.

The hypnotic rhythm and sounds transport the listener to all corners of the globe, from the wilds of Africa in the midst of social unrest, to poverty stricken inner-city USA, and then to a diverse cultural blend in England. The sophisticated and thoughtful arrangements keep it interesting yet cohesive in the overall idea.

I kind of love this music! At the same time as it gives a forum for a politically charged story, it is also very listenable and musically sound. Perhaps a girl like me can understand reggae/techno music after all. And maybe it will serve both purposes of bringing awareness to social issues, and demonstrating how music is truly a universal language.

THE PROCESS performs at The Hamilton St. Pub on Friday Dec. 30 at 9:30 p.m. For more information, please visit The Process Online.

© Lois Jackman, 2011